The physical and financial burdens of a car accident can last many years after the initial incident. The accident can also linger on your driving record, adding insult to injury and potentially making your insurance rate go up. But how long does a car accident stay on your record in Texas?
Does Texas Have a Driving Record Database?
The short answer is yes. In Texas, there are a couple of ways that information about car accidents gets recorded.
Texas maintains a “permanent driving record” for licensed drivers. Every licensed driver has a motor vehicle report. That record includes a complete driving history, including accidents, violations, speeding tickets, or other traffic citations.
Under Texas law, an officer has to create an accident report if a crash caused injury or death or if there was $1,000 or more in property damage. The law enforcement officer investigating your car accident must complete and submit a crash report to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) within 10 days of the crash.
TxDOT maintains a database of these crash reports. You might say this is also a “permanent record” of sorts.
However, just because the TxDOT maintains accident records doesn’t mean that just anyone can access the records.
Under Texas law, only the following people can obtain your crash report:
- Any person involved in the accident;
- The authorized representative of any person involved in the accident, such as the person’s attorney;
- A driver involved in the accident;
- An employer, parent, or legal guardian of a driver involved in the accident;
- The owner of a vehicle or property damaged in the accident;
- A person who has established financial responsibility for a vehicle involved in the accident, such as a policyholder of a motor vehicle liability insurance policy covering the vehicle;
- An insurance company that issued an insurance policy covering a vehicle involved in the accident;
- An insurance company that issued a policy covering any person involved in the accident;
- A person under contract to provide claims of underwriting information to an insurer;
- A radio or television station that holds a license issued by the Federal Communications Commission;
- A newspaper that is free or qualified to publish legal notices; and
- Any person who may sue because of death resulting from the accident.
The Texas Department of Public Safety (TxDPS) also maintains driver records for all Texas drivers. These records include information on citations, crashes, and license suspensions. You can order a copy of your report from the TxDPS webpage after providing certain information, such as your driver’s license number, and paying a fee.
What Is the Duration of a Car Accident on a Driving Record in Texas?
So, how long does a car accident stay on your record in Texas? Luckily, these accidents and violations don’t remain on your motor vehicle record forever.
In Texas, car accidents on a driving record stay there for five years. If you were in a car accident, you might have also received a ticket. Tickets on your Texas driving record can affect your driver’s license points, driving privileges, and car insurance rates. High-risk drivers with multiple traffic violations, motor vehicle accidents, or any hit-and-runs, will also likely experience an increased insurance premium rate.
The state will suspend your driver’s license if you are considered a habitual violator of traffic laws, which can happen if you receive four or more convictions in a year.
Remember that the time a ticket stays on your record in Texas might differ from how long the ticket will affect your car insurance rates. For instance, most car insurance companies check the past three years of your driving record when calculating premiums. But the length of time varies, and certain offenses may disqualify you from getting a good driver discount for more than three years.
If You Were in a Car Accident, Hartley Law Firm Can Help
Researching and understanding all of the legal implications of being in a car accident can be overwhelming. The experienced attorneys at Hartley Law Firm can evaluate your case and help you understand your legal options. Austin Hartley is an award-winning attorney who is dedicated to fighting for the rights of car accident victims. Contact Hartley Law Firm today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help you.